Sean Bean’s amazing gesture to make young co-stars confident before filming

Action hero Sean Bean took his co-stars out for a steak ­dinner in a bonding session
before filming BBC1 series World On Fire.

The Second World War epic promises to be the new Sunday night obsession when it starts tonight.

Rising star Julia Brown – who plays Sean’s on-screen daughter – said: “Working with someone you have ­idolised before was incredible but getting to know him as a person was fantastic and amazing.

“Before we started filming they sent us out on a dinner together as a family in Manchester so we had time to discuss our characters and get to know each other.

“Sean’s so down-to-earth and friendly, it was great, as was the imparted wisdom.”

The 22-year-old Shetland ­actress added: “He made it very comfortable and a laugh on set and it was just a masterclass in acting. He’s mesmerising to watch and that was so important.

“I really had to connect with him on an emotional level and it was so easy because he was so believable.”

The ambitious series aims to tell the story of the first year of the war through the eyes of characters from the UK, the US, Poland, France and Germany.

Bean’s character Douglas Bennett is a shell-shocked First World War veteran-turned-pacifist who watches his son and daughter both go to war.

Daughter Lois, played by Julia, is a factory worker who decides to sing for the troops in France while his swindler son Tom, played by Ewan Mitchell, joins the Royal Navy to escape
the law.

Lois’s boyfriend Harry Chase, played by Jonah Hauer-King, is posted to Warsaw as a diplomat but falls for a Polish waitress Kasia, played by Zofia Wichlacz, who he tries to save from the Nazis.

The seven-part series also ­features Oscar-winner Helen Hunt as US journalist Nancy Campbell – based on real-life British war correspondent Clare Hollingworth, who broke the news of Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

Lesley Manville, star of hit comedy drama Mum, is Harry’s snooty mother Robina, while Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison plays an Army sergeant.

At one point Lois sings for the troops in a jazz duo called The Victory Vs with her best friend Connie Knight.

The pair are based on the show’s writer Peter’s Bowker’s gran and his Auntie Anna, who was black. They had a similar ­wartime act called Two Shades.

Peter, who wrote BBC ­family drama ­series The A Word, said it was important to tell a diverse story about the war.

He said: “At the heart of Nazism is a belief in racial superiority. This war was won by a multi-racial international alliance. It wasn’t just won by white men.

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